The NPRM (Notice for Proposed Rule Making) is the document that is being developed by the FAA and looks to be released to the modeling community sometime in 2012. The precise contents of the document are prohibited by law from being released prior to the rules publication so we as hobbyists are playing the "waiting game" until we know additional information about the notice.
- 22 March - Well it looks as though it's delayed again (Yeah, big suprise). It seems as though it was on it's way to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but now it looks that the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act has necessitated some additional review. The target date for release is now in July. The wait continues...
- 3 February - U.S. House and Congress pass the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Contained in this bill is legislation that seeks to protect the sport modeler from "undue restrictions on an otherwise harmless hobby". We can only hope that this will further help to protect the modeling community when the NPRM is published. Which will probably (I know I've said this before) happen soon..
- 30 November - AMA reports the following on their Government Relations site: "We Are Weeks Away from the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking"
Most everyone should be aware by now that the FAA is working on developing new regulation aimed at enabling the operation of commercial and public use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the national airspace system (NAS). FAA intends to include criteria for recreational UAS (model aircraft) in the new regulation and indications are that this criteria will be significantly more restrictive than the guidelines established in the current advisory circular, AC 91-57. However, the regulation is also expected to include a provision that will allow community based organizations such as the AMA to submit their own set of standards for model aircraft (MA) operations, and if accepted and adopted by the FAA can be used as an alternative means of complying with the UAS regulation. AMA has a workgroup in place that has been developing just such a set of standards, and we are optimistic that these standards will allow aeromodeling operations to continue in the future in much the same way as they have in the past.
Last spring AMA launched a Congressional Awareness campaign aimed at alerting our Senate and Congressional representatives as to our concern over the proposed regulation and its potential impact on the modeling community. This campaign was very well received and was successful in gaining the support of many of the congressional leaders.
We are now just weeks away from the release of the FAA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) which may come as early as mid January. The NPRM will provide a 90-120 day public comment period to allow interested parties to comment on the proposed rule and to make constructive suggestions toward improving the regulation. Once the rule is published AMA will be providing suggestions and guidance for responding to the NPRM. This will be your opportunity to weigh in on the issue. It is also very likely the AMA will organize a parallel congressional campaign to once again draw attention to our concerns.
It’s extremely important that we start gearing up for the NPRM and are prepared to respond to the public notice once the proposed rule is published. In preparing for our response this would be a great time to start garnering the support of your families, friends, your community, schools, charitable/fraternal organizations and anyone else who has an interest in model aviation. Once the NPRM is published we will need to respond in substantial numbers to make sure our voice is heard and we’ll need all the help we can get.
What to do next:
Be patient. However, this "waiting period" we are in should not be seen as a time for doing nothing.
Be sure to visit the AMA's Government Relations website for additional information. Be sure to also contact the Conference Committee members about your concerns. As AMA members we are already voluntarily subject to a comprehensive set of safety items concerning model aviation. We really don't need new regulations telling us how to be safe flyers when we already mandate safe operations at the national (AMA), city (Dayton) and club (Wingmasters) levels.
When will we know:
It sounds like it is going to be soon. This has been bumped back so many times it's almost funny, but it sounds like this time it's going be a go. Keep your eyes and ears tuned...